Iran’s Navy to Unveil New Assets, Expand Presence in International Waters

By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project - The Middle East Institute | Sep 29, 2017
Iran’s Navy to Unveil New Assets, Expand Presence in International Waters

Iran’s Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari said today that the country’s naval forces will unveil its new domestically-built naval assets this year and will also extend their area and scope of operations beyond the Persian Gulf region. “We will definitely continue and expand our extra-regional missions in the future,” he told reporters. “This is because we are confident that the presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in international waters is part of the duty of our naval forces, which needs to be implemented correctly.” Sayyari further claimed that the country’s naval forces are now more ready and better equipped to deal with any potential external threats. “Today, we do not need others for our [military] equipment and we can acquire them on our own.”

Comment: The Islamic Republic has in recent years made it a priority to develop its naval capabilities, although its leaders often exaggerate the country’s progress in building advanced naval assets and expanding its naval forces’ presence in international waters.

Sayyari did not provide details about the new naval assets, but he had said last month that new home-made vessels and a missile launching warship will be added to the country’s naval arsenal. "New equipment, including surface and subsurface vessels units, and other equipment made in the country will be unveiled in the Northern and Southern parts (waters) of the country," Sayyari said. He added that Separ, a new missile-launching warship, will soon join the country’s Northern fleet. The Iranian Navy commander also revealed that his forces would stage drills in the country’s southeastern Makran coast in the near future. "The strategic Navy of the Army annually stages numerous specialized drills, over 25 wargames, in different fields, and therefore, the specialized electronic warfare drills will be held by the Southern fleet and off Makran coasts in the next few days.” Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami also said a month ago that a new homegrown military submarine Fateh (Conqueror) is going through final tests and will soon join the Iranian naval forces.

In addition, Sayyari unveiled his plan to dispatch naval fleets to the west of the Atlantic Ocean. Speaking to a gathering of Iranian naval commanders, he boasted about Iran’s growing presence in international waters, and added that foreign military officials did not expect the Islamic Republic’s naval forces to reach the Atlantic Ocean.

In April, Sayyari had also announced that the Navy planned to renew the presence of its forces in the Atlantic Ocean in the current Iranian year, which began on March 21. He said the Navy also planned to further develop Karan coasts in the southeast of Iran and ensure Iran’s intelligence superiority in regional and international waters. The commander added that the Navy will produce new military vessels this year, and revealed that the Iranian naval forces were making efforts to expand its presence and boost security in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the Bab al-Mandeb.

Last year, the Iranian chief of staff of the armed forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, sent shockwaves through the region by calling for Iranian naval bases in Yemen and Syria.

Iran’s regularly Navy is separate from the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). According to U.S. officials, it is the I.R.G.C. Navy that usually engages in “unprofessional” and “irresponsible” actions in the Gulf region and repeatedly harasses U.S. warships stationed there.